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February 10: Happy New Snake

Thamnophis sirtalis taken at Bicentennial Park...

Thamnophis sirtalis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mandatory Music: listen to this to find out what happens when you wake up a snake. Go on, press the button:

Today is the first day of the lunar new year and thus the Chinese New Year: according to the Chinese zodiac, today begins the year of the snake. National Geographic has a lovely feature comparing the personality characteristics of those born in the year of the snake with actual snakes.

Here are the highlights:

Horoscope: Snakes have an innately elegant personality but can also be ostentatious at times.
In Nature: Snakes come in all different colors, patterns, and textures, making them some of nature’s most visually stunning creatures.

Horoscope: The snake is known to be the master seducer of the Chinese zodiac.
In Nature: Female garter snakes (Thamnophis) have all the luck with the gentlemen.

Horoscope: Though snakes don’t often tell lies, they will use deception when they feel it’s necessary and they think they can get away with it.
In Nature: When it comes to using trickery to catch dinner, or to hide from predators, snakes are no amateurs. Their sneaky techniques range from tricking fish to swim right into their mouths, to playing dead when threatened, to using their wormlike tails to lure in prey.

Horoscope: When snakes get down to work, they are organized and highly efficient, and they work quickly and quietly.
In Nature: While snakes are often perceived as lazy, Campbell said people are mistaken. “What we perceive as shy, lazy, or inactive is really efficiency,” he said.

Horoscope: Snakes are charming, with excellent communication skills.
In Nature: For snakes, their visual and auditory senses don’t mean much when it comes to communicating with each other. Instead, they use their sense of smell and the chemicals produced by their musk glands. Unlike mammals, a snake picks up scent through the forks of its tongue.

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